2014 AFC East Rankings: Changes After the 2014 NFL Draft?

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

How does the AFC East stack up after the 2014 NFL Draft?

1.) New England Patriots

The only team that can dethrone the defending AFC Champion Patriots are… the Patriots. If the Pats can stay relatively healthy there’s no reason to think they won’t place another division title on their mantle. Offensively New England will be fine as long as Tom Brady is delivering the passes. The only problem comes when they get into the red zone and Rob Gronkowski isn’t available.

>Heading into next season Gronk should be viewed strictly as a luxury for this offense, one they can’t afford to depend on. Because the question isn’t whether or not he can stay healthy, but rather how long until he gets injured again? Hopefully Aaron Dobson will recover from off season surgery and regain the rapport he was slowly establishing with Brady last year. Fortunately for New England a revamped defense should keep most games in check, making the need for a weekly offensive onslaught like in years past less necessary.

Patriot fans were teased last year with the defense “that could have been”. When healthy New England looked like a top five defense in 2013. With the return of Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Jerod Mayo and the signings of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, this Patriots group looks primed for a banner year. The acquisitions of Revis and Browner allow players to be positioned where they excel best. Kyle Arrington can bang heads in the slot, while Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard contribute in sub packages. Both Ryan and Dennard also provide quality depth which New England will need during Browner’s four game suspension.

Going into the draft there wasn’t much room for rookies to crack the starting lineup. I would have liked to see them address linebacker at some point, given the scarce depth after Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins. But the addition of Dominique Easley up front should pay off big time if he can come into the season near 100%. He’s the type of chess piece Belichick has been searching for on the defensive line, and at #29 Easley is the kind of prospect you don’t mind gambling on. The possibility of him and Chandler Jones on the field for three downs should get Pats fans excited.

A big concern fans have going into the draft each year is will New England hurt its arm reaching for the next Tavon Wilson or Duron Harmon? Whether you agree or disagree with their picks, they did not over extent for any player this year. I have ambivalent feelings towards drafting a QB so early, but at the end of the day there’s no such thing as showing up fashionably late to that party. When it comes to Brady’s career people should concentrate on the quality not quantity. Because he might steal a few rounds from father time, but eventually that right hook is going to land, and when it does no amount of smelling salts will revive Tom Terrific.

If you’re upset with the Jimmy Garoppolo pick, the odds are in favor you’re mad because they failed to draft immediate impact players who can maximize Brady’s window to win another Super Bowl. When in reality they did just that, just instead of adding players who will catch touchdowns, they selected individuals who will make sure the guy on the other end actually has time to throw to them.

For as much as tight end and red zone offense were areas of concern last season, the offensive line was even more alarming at times. The absence of Dante Scarnecchia combined with a lack of quality depth left New England in a precarious spot heading into this off season. An exorbitant amount of money has been allocated to Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly, two players who haven’t performed up to what their salary commands. The Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming picks should address the Pats offense line issues sooner rather later.

Favorite Draft Pick, Jeremy Gallon: Gallon can best be described as a poor man’s DeSean Jackson without an ego. Like Jackson, Gallon knows how to use his small frame to his advantage and get underneath defenders. He may not possess Jackson’s top end speed, but Gallon is still fast enough to get on top of secondary’s for the long ball. With an almost 38” vertical he routinely catches the football at its highest point, and will compete for 50/50 balls.

The competition between him and Josh Boyce will be interesting during training camp, given the fact Gallon’s game reflects a lot of Boyce’s. Both can line up inside or out, while also adding value in the return game. And considering Boyce’s progress was impeded by injuries over the course of his rookie year, Gallon won’t have as much ground to make up in order to pass him on the roster. I won’t be surprised if he becomes one of Brady’s favorite options by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

Outlook: There have been plenty of changes elsewhere in the division this offseason, but as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. New England wins the AFC East, again.

2.) Buffalo Bills

Like the rest of the AFC East, Buffalo’s direction will be determined by their young quarterback’s progression. E.J. Manuel flashed at times last year before injuries eventually put a damper on his rookie season. Along with great size, he also showed an ability to move around the pocket and create plays. If Manuel can avoid getting hurt, he increases the Bills chances of becoming a factor in the division. And while an arms race has been raging between New England and Denver, Buffalo was able to equip themselves with a tomahawk missile coated in orange and purple.

Sammy Watkins is an absolute menace everywhere on the field. He’s as close to a complete receiver as you’re going to get coming out of college, and was worthy of Buffalo trading up to #4. Steve Smith was often referred to as “The Magic Man” earlier in his career, but that title might have a new home with Watkins. What makes him so deadly is his ability to generate space where there isn’t any, and then warp into hyper drive the second daylight presents itself. Manuel will have no shortage of weapons with Watkins, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham and Mike Williams on the field this year. Buffalo’s TE situation is less than desirable outside of Scott Chandler, but they may be able to counter those short comings by enlisting more four receiver sets.

Even though Watkins has gotten most of the attention regarding Buffalo’s draft, it’s their 2nd round pick Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio that will allow him to flourish by keeping Manuel upright. Buffalo also invested another pick inside the trenches in round five, this time with guard Cyril Richardson. Their offensive line is still far from the Leagues prettiest, but they gained some depth and talent over the weekend that should make them more formidable going forward.

Defensively the Bills have some good young talent across the board. Kiko Alonso was the defensive rookie of the year in my opinion, and should benefit greatly playing next to Brandon Spikes who will clear up the garbage in front for him. Mario Williams, Jerry Huges, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams will remain a force on the defensive line. Dareus’s recent arrest is a concern for Buffalo, but Stefan Charles and Alan Branch are both serviceable options if he’s suspended to start 2014. Da’Norris Searcy is a stud at SS, but with Jarius Byrd’s departure they’ll be counting on Aaron Williams to transition into center field.

Outlook: For all the moves Buffalo made on offense, New England has made just as many on defense to counter them. They should compete for a playoff berth, but the AFC East crown stays in Foxborough for another year.

 

3.) Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are relying heavily on Ryan Tannehill’s development. He wasn’t always the easiest to watch last season, but displayed enough signs of improvement to give Dolphins’ fans some optimism. The problem is Tannehill can’t take any steps forward if he’s constantly on his backside.

Miami’s offensive line was a disaster on and off the field last year. The Jonathan Martin saga was a distraction that lingered all season long and affected an already troubled line. So going into the draft it was vital Miami addressed their offensive line situation, and they did just that by grabbing Tennessee’s Ja’Waun James #19 overall. James size and versatility to play both guard and tackle should appeal to a team needing not only more talent but depth. With the addition of Brandon Albert via free agency, and North Dakota States Billy turner in the 3rd round, Miami has shown that upgrading the trenches was a priority.

Last off season the Dolphins reached deep into their pockets to sign free agent receiver Mike Wallace. The move did not pay nearly the amount of dividends they had hoped for, and Wallace will be looking to have a bounce back season to justify that contract. Miami is not completely devoid of talent at receiver. Over the past two seasons Brian Hartline has become one of the most productive wide outs in the division. And Charles Clay’s emergence last year gave an unexpected boost to their offense.

However it’s second round pick Jarvis Landry who may become Tanneill’s favorite target. Landry was one of the most clutch receivers in college while at LSU. He already has some of the NFL’s best hands, and hasn’t even taken a snap yet. He brings a level of dependability that Tannehill will appreciate from day one. Landry will most likely act as a possession receiver in their offense, but could be a factor outside. Hartline and Landry have a chance to become one of the better tandems in the AFC East.

Defensively the Dolphins are way ahead of their offense, and should continue being a strength for them. They’re in decent shape at starting corner after resigning Brent Grimes and picking up Cortland Finnegan during free agency, but depth after that could be a problem. Dimitri Patterson and Nolan Carroll both joined new teams, and Miami will need sophomore Jamar Taylor to contribute even more than he did previously. They invested a fourth rounder in Liberty corner Walt Aikens, who has the size and athleticism coaching staffs desire at CB. Louis Delmas is a good addition at safety if he can stay healthy, and FS Reshard Jones remains one of the league’s most underrated players.

As far as their defensive line goes, Jared Odrick should be able to replace Paul Soliai who left in free agency. Along with Randy Starks, Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake the Dolphins will have no trouble getting after the passer.

Outlook: If the Dolphins can get out of their own way and avoid locker room distractions, there’s no reason to believe they can’t put together a respectable season. Maybe even secure a slot on wild card weekend.

 

4.) New York Jets

The Jets will always begin and end with defense as long as Rex Ryan is at the helm. Unfortunately for Rex not everyone on board is always ready to man the sails. New York offers one of the more intimidating defensive lines in football with Muhammad Wilkerson and reining defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson. Even at his advanced age Calvin Pace was able to notch thirteen sacks last year, while David Harris continued to be their most stalwart player on the team. The back end of their defense however has regressed majorly over the past couple seasons.

A secondary that was still suffering from the trade of Darrell Revis, lost their other mainstay at CB when they released Antonio Cromartie March 9th. They signed veteran Dimitri Patterson and reached in the third round by taking Maryland’s Dexter McDougle this past weekend. Dee Milliner had a lack luster rookie campaign that was marred by poor performance and injuries. Dawan Landry is a veteran presence who knows how to operate Ryan’s defense, and first round pick Calvin Pryor should help set the tone Rex loves. Pryor is a hard hitting safety who can knock anyone senseless across the middle, while also maintaining range and making plays on the ball.

Offensively the Jets are still somewhat of a mess, but a mess with at least options. Hopefully for New York Geno Smith can improve on a rookie year that had more downs than ups. If Smith struggles early expect Michael Vick to be under center in a hurry. Vick could actually run an effective offense with gang green. His mobility plus Chris Johnson in the back field can give the Jets a potent run game so long as he stays healthy.

Last year was a disaster for New York at receiver, and they made a point of it to cure those ills this spring. Eric Decker may have reaped the rewards of a number two wide out playing with Peyton Manning, but he’ll quickly realize how lonely it gets without Demaryius Thomas opposite him. With that said, Decker is still a quality receiver, just not a number one receiver. Jacoby Ford has the top end speed to be a legitimate deep threat, but lacks the dependability to be a frequent target. Jeremy Kerley is their best receiver out of the slot, and should thrive with someone like Vick taking snaps at quarterback. Stephen Hill has been a disappointment his first two seasons, and needs to show something if he wants to stick around.

They used 4th round picks on Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders and UCLA’s Shaq Evans to bolster their receiving roster with more youth. Saunders plays bigger than his 5’9” frame would lead you to believe, and has the wheels to streak down field. Evans isn’t nearly as fast as Saunders, but will make tough catches in congested areas of the field.

Outlook: The Jets will be much improved on offense this year, but that’s not saying much considering how bad they were at times last season. I’m not a big believer in Geno, and eventually Rex is going to feel pressure to win now and ride with Vick. If he can stay healthy, Vick can make things interesting, but that’s a big “IF”.  They have a shot to finish above .500, but will most likely fall short of the playoffs.

Tags: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady

34 Responses to “2014 AFC East Rankings: Changes After the 2014 NFL Draft?”

  1. PatsFanForYears says:

    First of all I’ve been a patriots fan since Steve Grogran was QB. I honestly couldn’t have been more disappointed with the draft strategy of the patriots for a few years now!! This was a year when I strongly believed BB would trade back and accumulate numerous picks enabling the pats to fill multiple needs as well as stock picks for next year. Seeing the pats selection of Qb – Garrappolo suggests Tom Brady is probably planning on spending more time with his family or should I say his children who are getting to the age when they are more aware of their surroundings and he may want to play a more pivotal role in their lives! Think about it, Brady tells Bill after last season he strongly considering retirement. Bill goes out and scores “Revis & Browner” solidifying the pats defense of the future as well as factoring in Bradys extra $ for resigning Revis and keep him a pat until retirement! I can go on all day about what I believe to be true but 1 thing is certain and that is the Patriots are contenders every single year.

  2. J H TARBORO says:

    Iron sharpens iron, the WR/DB competition in NE will be a serious one, who will stay and who will go!!!

  3. J H TARBORO says:

    They’re a lot of what ifs about UDFA TE Justin Jones 6’8 277 E.Carolina. If he proves to be more athletic than Gronk and improves his blocking, it could be bad timing for Gronk giving this kid an opportunity to become a starter possibly.

    • Bobthebuilder says:

      0.000% chance Gronk ever loses any snaps to Jones

      • J H TARBORO says:

        Bob we will see! I personally love Gronk but this could play out a lot different than you think! Gronk stated he wouldn’t get on the field until he’s ready and with the big contract and injury history, time will tell.

        • Dylan.C says:

          If Justin Jones wasn’t smart enough to stay academically eligible at ECSU what makes you think he will be able to grasp the N.E playbook? Thinking that an UDFA free agent with 50 career receptions in college is going to beat out Gronk is a bit ridiculous.

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Dylan we don’t his reason why he academically ineligible, and to say he’s not smart, why is he here? I’m not putting all my faith behind Gronk, over the last 3yrs. he doesn’t have the best track record.

        • Dylan.C says:

          He failed a class in the spring of 2013 so he had to pass a summer class to stay academically eligible for the fall 2013, which he also failed.

    • mike t says:

      are you HIGH, this comment is absurd

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Looking at our drafted players and doing a lot of research on our UDFAs, these are the players that are going to push our vets big time in camp. NEPD should have an article come August called Don’t tell me they got rid of him!!! Also special teams will be an area that we improve tremendously. I’m saying it first, lots of new players coming in this year that will be on the final roster. Just sayin.

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    Here is our 11th receiver in camp UDFA WR Derrick Johnson 5’11 195 Maine.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJJFO0pMe14

  6. Dylan.C says:

    If they are healthy I think the most effective use of the D-Line would be to have Wilfork, Kelly, and maybe Silgia get most of the work on early downs and then sub in Easley and Armstead to pressure the pocket on passing downs.

    A subpackage with Jones, Easley, Armstead, and Nink would be pretty hard to defend. Will Smith, Michael Bucannon, or Zach Moore could sub in for one of the starting ends and Jones could also bump inside as he did often last year.

    As the Seahawks proved, you can never have to much D-Line depth. Having allot of players in rotation keeps your best talent fresh for when it maters most. This would also minimize the wear and tear on Wilfork, Kelly, and Easley.

    Jones and Nink played like 99% of the snaps lat year, no way they can be counted on to do that again. They won’t be effective down the stretch or they will get injured. Also, I think Jones will have a more productive season down the stretch than he did last year. After Wilfork and Kelly went down teams could focus on double teaming him nearly every passing play without having to worry about someone shooting a gap up the middle. With Easley, Wilfork, Kelly, or Armstead lined up next to him and with Revis and Browner playing press man, he should get allot of opportunities to increase his sack total.

  7. Kevan says:

    Mallet was a 3rd round pick, garappolo a 2nd. It was only a 12 pick difference I think. While the mallet pick was applauded the garoppolo pick is being criticized heavily it makes no sense, considering Brady is that much older and mallet looks like he is on his last year if that. Espnboston reported pats did not like Cj at te. I liked Kareem Martin but I think the QB was not bad either. Pats got the olineman they wanted as well. As for the article I think pats win the division one again, with a 12-4 record at worst. Barring catastrophic injuries.

  8. TD says:

    It amazes me how fans and media alike try to pass off their OPINIONS as facts when it comes to any NFL draft. One may not know how good or bad the Pat’s draft was for 2-3 years! They have not even gone through the new pads off training camps yet. As the Big Tuna used to say, “The best thing about rookies is they become second year players.”

    As for all the condemnation to Easley, if a player goes down with an ACL injury it seems that the surgeon’s go in there and tighten it up and after appreciable therapy time they come back stronger.

    Just think, if Easley’s ACL’s are ready to go, BB may have just drafted the next Geno Atkins! With the Guards and Centers getting bigger and bigger in the NFL, teams are combating that with smaller quicker DTackles that can penetrate instead of guys like Wilfork.

    Also, we will find out if they think Mallett is worth keeping or they just tender him an RFA ala Hoyer a few years ago in order to try and get something for him. If not, that third round pick was insurance and peace of mind.

    • Jack Trudel says:

      Nobody was questioning the potential value of Easley IF he’s in game shape, which he is not. He couldn’t test out at the combine or on his pro day, so he was a terrible 1st or 2nd round choice given the severity of his past injuries, in choosing him over the players who were available, and in the equally probable event he may never dress for a game or start. Actually it was downright stupid, but yes, he could end up in Canton; still doesn’t change whether the risk was worth it. It was the draft, not the Super Bowl.

      • bmp1113 says:

        teams dont draft players to win this year. Everyone compares these rookies in context of other rookies and college players, then fans think they will enter in to the nfl and be just as dominant. How many rookies really made a huge impact in the super bowl and championship games last year? Whether or not Easley is in shape or went to the combine doesnt really mean anything. Easley already recovered from the one acl tear so who really thinks he wont recover from this one. Everyone likes to act like he has 2 torn acls but thats just not true. If he comes in and plays at his very high level at any point this season or is ready to go next year then he was a great pick. I dont know why anyone would think a team could regress after a draft. That is completely illogical. The patriots biggest need and the reason they lost to the broncos was oline and they added plenty of good players on the offensive line. Another issue the Pats had last year was corner depth and they fixed that about as good as possible. I know people like to make a big deal out of how players will help THIS YEAR but thats just not how the nfl works and the pats didnt have any holes that could be filled by a rookie becoming a starter.

      • MaineMan says:

        First of all, simple ACL tears aren’t all that “severe” anymore.

        Easley’s first injury (in the other knee) happened at the end of his 2011 season (roughly the beginning of December) and he came back from that to play his entire 2012 season – and play impressively. Welker, playing a position that requires far more sharp cutting than a DL spot, tore his ACL at the end of December and started week-1 of the following season.

        The current injury occurred in early October. Although he chose not to workout at the Combine (end of Feb) or at Florida’s pro day (March 15) – wisely, IMHO – he DID hold a personal pro day April 9th, six months post-surgery, where he impressed attendees in positional drills, even though he himself said he was only about 80% recovered. That was about six weeks ago and he’s reportedly participating in Pat’s practices (although “limited”). He has roughly 12 more weeks before Training Camp and another five weeks after that before the season starts to make up whatever ground remains in his recovery.

        Given the history, I don’t see a problem.

      • Dylan.C says:

        You do realize that he has already been running and cutting and is fully expected to be ready by training camp. The injury happened in late September and he is far enough along in the recovery process for doctors to be able to tell how his knee is holding up.

        This is from mid April

        http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/4/17/5624730/dominique-easley-florida-pro-day-results-acl-injury

    • steve earle says:

      Amazed fans pass off opinions as facts? Isn’t that what you do next? ACL pt’s knees come back stronger, really? Are you a surgeon, an MD, any medical background? Me, I was a licensed medical professional for 30 years and never heard a surgeon or MD make any such claims. Medical advances may have made great strides after I retired but not that much I don’t believe.
      I believe the operative word in your post is “IF”. As in if Easley comes back ready to go and if he stays healthy it will have been a good pick. But what if he has a setback and has to red shirt this year? What if he blows out another ACL? Can you really fault those of us who question the wisdom of drafting a player with such a high risk of injury?

      • Dylan.C says:

        Seeing that he is now 7 months removed from the surgery, he was considered 80% in early April when he was already running and cutting, and he could play today if there was a game wouldn’t one of theses aforementioned set backs have already occurred?

        He is supposed to be ready for training camp. Your acting like he is still only a few months out from the injury and is in the early stages of the rehab process. Yes, sometimes people take well over a year or even never fully recover from an acl injury, but wouldn’t setbacks have already shown up a long time ago in the rehab process?

        Ill post this again, if you scroll down there is a GIF of Easley running in early April

        http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/4/17/5624730/dominique-easley-florida-pro-day-results-acl-injury

        As far as people coming back “stronger” from ACL injuries, I think the reason people say this is that a major cause of non contact ACL injuries is when the ligament gets pinched in between the cavity where the Femur and Tibia meet, which is where the ACL is. When they preform ACL surgeries today they will hallow out this cavity more to create additional space and to try and prevent the ligament from getting pinched again.

      • Dylan.C says:

        Also, his first knee injury on his other ACL happened in mid December 2011. He was ready for the start of the 2012 season and had his best season of his college career. That was a shorter time frame than this injury. While this doesn’t directly correlate with how his other knee will heal it does speak to his work ethic in the rehab process, and this is half the battle when it comes to recovering from knee injuries. He clearly has the drive to put his all into physical therapy.

  9. HD Paulie says:

    I know we have to wait a couple years to make an informed rating of a teams draft picks. However IMO all 3 AFC East teams gained on the Pats. Although we don’t know how well the players will perform, the Bills, Jets and Fins all appear to have filled their positions of need in the draft and FA. The Jets loaded up with sorely needed pass catchers and filled holes at DB and RB. The Fins fixed their OL and improve at DB and WR. The Bills got EJ his weapon and his protection. Although the Pats have seemed to improve their biggest need at OL, they didn’t address huge needs at TE and SS and failed to get any depth at LB. Although a risky pick, I’m ok with Easley But why on earth would you use a valuable pick on a QB that won’t see the field for a couple years, draft yet another munchkin receiver, and draft a RB when you’ve already had success getting UDFA runners in the past ( Bolden BJGE ). If they has used those 3 picks on the best available TE,SS and LB I think we would be in much better shape.

    • PSW says:

      Three total disaster areas merely got back to respectability, the kings are still the kings. Even with a hole at TE, the OL will be stronger than its been in years, the running and passing games will improve with it, and the defensive backfield will be a strength not a weakness for the first time in how long… a decade. Things are good, not perfect, but very good, every team has a flaw, check out Denver, Seattle, and San Fran, extremely strong, but not perfect.

    • TD says:

      Don’t count me in as one that thinks the ‘fins “fixed” their OLine issues with rookies, especially one’s from smaller schools.

      Take a look at how BB has built our present OLine: Solder (1st), Mankins(1st), Wendell (FA), Connolly (FA), Vollmer (2nd), Cannon (5th). The FA’s on our team are the one’s in danger of being replaced. Time will tell if the pundits are correct on the ‘fins “reaching” for the OLinemen in this year’s draft.

    • Jack says:

      Just from a Pat’s perspective, adding arguably the #1 corner in the NFL kind of gives them a leg up on the rest of the division in and of itself. And of course the addition of Browner as a proven press corner gives them a couple of guys who will be tough to get by on defense. As always, injuries played a huge role, and the Pats were hit hard last year. Gronk, Mayo, Wilfork and Kelley were all starters who were out for much of the season. Heck, if Gronk alone stays healthy, the Pats are SB contenders once again.

      On offense, those rookie wide receivers have now had a year in the system. Dobson in particular was stepping it up when he got hurt.

      The Pats were actually hanging in there against the Broncos until the injury-prone Talib went out. They won’t have that depth problem at corner this year. Peyton won’t have such easy pickings with Revis and Browner and Dennard patrolling the corner positions. (Dennard was the the #1 corner when Talib went out, and was overmatched against a larger receiver).

      With Wilfork and Kelly back, they’ll be much stronger at the interior line. Of course, if you add Easley to the mix, now you have a disruptive presence in the middle who can maybe get to Peyton or at least make the pocket less comfortable for him. Armstead may offer some interior rush as well.

      In fact, IF Ryan can make the transition to safety, the Pats could have a monster defense. Who knows, maybe Harmon steps up. Chung might even be less of a liability with all the strong defenders around him.

      The increased depth on the OL should offer improved quality for the OL. Although none of the prospects they drafted there is overwhelming, the added layer of depth may improve the interior OL to the point where the they don’t give up 40 sacks as they did last year.

      Finally, there are some intriguing late-rounder and UFDAs who could potentially contribute. I personally would love to see Roy Finch add an explosion factor. What a highlight reel he has! I know it’s just a highlight real, but if those jaw-dropping moves translate to the NFL – and I’m thinking there’s a chance they do – then the Pats have a guy who’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

      Gallon also looks interesting, and Justin Jones gives them another option at TE. And then there’s the Concordia guy – maybe he could add some outside pass-rush capability to spell Jones/Ninkovich.

    • MaineMan says:

      I’ll yield on the LB depth question, but none of the TEs in this draft class were worth the pick that was required to get them, and “strong safety” hasn’t been an actual position in the Pats’ defensive scheme for a couple-three years now (and BB himself said it wouldn’t be way back in 2009).

      James White is pretty much the “anti-Ridley” in terms of ball security and receiving ability, and the contracts of all three incumbent RBs are up at the end of this season, so, drafting at least one quality back a year ahead of that only seems prudent to me. The same applies to Garoppolo, really. Mallett’s contract is up at the end of the season, so it’s only prudent to have his successor as backup to Brady learning the system for a year before being relied on as the #1 contingency plan. Add in the aspects that Garoppolo has been tutored for a decade in the same developmental system as Brady himself was and that Brady may only play another 2-3 years, and you have to take a potential successor when they did (Houston wasn’t going to pass on Garoppolo THREE times).

  10. gatorade says:

    ugo, sorry I ruffled your feathers, but I don’t feel pats draft needs more than a few lines. commend you that you are not really interested in the gay guy, every media outlet seems to be. I don’t need a hug from you chum and your assured opinions may require some common sense. My opinions are as good as yours and I think pats are on the downslope. But as you so wisely stated we will see -come next Oct. or Nov. So lets not talk about any of this now. Okay by me . Oh, but you want reasons – Easley two acls, don’t need qb, Gallon a midget etc. etc.

  11. gatorade says:

    pats draft was piss poor. pats on the downslope for sure. but all you creep pat fans will spin it to feel good. entire nfl a fiasco and a evil empire. now kid being praised adoringly by media and nfl for just being gay. no big deal but p.c. progressives treat it like a coronation. T.T. blacklisted for being an open christian thus a distraction. yet smartass, opportunist is lauded for coming out. what unmitigated reverse bias and yes reverse racism by nfl and p.c. media. and spare the crap that T.T. can’t pass, just look at all the losers who are now in nfl as starters and worse the myriad of losing frauds who are backups. T.T. some distraction yeah- decent, kind, caring, no trouble, giving, always trying to help kids in medical need. those qualities used to be appreciated by everyone. not now. not now.

    • Ugo says:

      So on a post about the AFC East you write a paragraph about a rookie drafted by St Louis, a team in NFC, and a quarterback that’s no longer in the NFL. I guess I should be happy that you addressed the Patriots in the first line. Except you used it as a chance to bash the draft picks of the Patriots without any relevant reasons why. From what I read, sounds Like you need a hug. Would offer you one except wouldn’t want my actions to interrupted as me being a p.c. progressive. So I guess I will just be upfront with. Stop whining. The Patriots will once again win the AFC East whether you liked their draft picks or not. Tebow is not coming back. As much as I liked him the kid can’t throw. And leave Michael Sam to have his 15 minutes of fame. When the games start, if he’s still around, we can find how good he really is.

    • pats2010 says:

      Wow, this comment is a doozy. Can I guess which team you’re a fan of? I’m gonna go Jets.

      Anyway, Pats fans have heard about our imminent demise for the last decade. Blah blah blah haven’t won a super bowl since ’04, blah blah blah. Anyone who says that losing a super bowl is a failed season is crazy. Apart from the ’07 team, this current roster has the potential to be the best Pats team since the ’03 super bowl.

      What is a downslope exactly? The fact that Brady will eventually retire? I agree that he will eventually retire, but he’s got 4 years left on the contract, and apart from this past season where he had two sub-6’0″ white wide receivers as his top targets, he’s showed absolutely no signs of slowing down. oh, and now our defense has an opportunity to be elite. so, unless you’re somehow a seahawks or broncos fan, i can pretty confidently say that the pats will finish better than your team this season.

      As for the Michael Sam thing, I kind of agree, but the whining about it is the only reason it’s a thing to begin with. If everybody just shuts up about it it will 100% disappear once the season starts, unless he becomes a pro bowler which is obviously not going to happen.

    • munchkin says:

      Why is it that Tebow fans come across as some of the angriest people on the planet? It’s as if they believe their anger validates their beliefs. Well, have at it. Just don’t expect anyone else to buy into it.

    • Jeff M says:

      What the heck just happened here?
      This is the most ridiculous, unintelligible rant I have seen in a long time…
      How does this have ANYTHING to do with this article?
      Also, if you don’t like the Pats, why are you on this site?

      Dude, get a life. Oh and just for your trouble…Tebow is a terrible QB, and is too arrogant to switch positions…that’s why he’s out of the NFL. Nice guy, good football player, awful QB. Plain and simple.

    • steve earle says:

      Well, well the creep from Fla. is back. Gatoraid hates the NFL and the Pat’s because his hero, Tim Tebow, was cut by the Pat’s and can’t find a job in the NFL. He just can’t come to grips with the fact that Tim can’t read defenses or throw accurately so he resorts to bearing false witness against those of us that point out those truths and uses the excuse to bash Sam. NFL gave Tebow a chance and are now giving Sam a chance. From here after I will ignore his ignorant hate rants.






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